One of the standout garments in Albion's range, the ABR1 Bib Shorts are the perfect addition to your wardrobe, and they’re comparatively affordable, too. Consider going up one from your normal size, and you’re good to go
- Superlative Elastic Interface pad
- Excellent leg length
- Great overall fit
- Good range of colours
- Premium feel
- Made from recycled materials
- Could be a little tighter at the leg gripper
- Sizes up small
Albion’s ABR1 Bib Shorts are designed for, and I quote, “your longest, hardest days in the saddle”. This should come as no surprise since Albion is one of the main sponsors of the Pan Celtic Race, the UK's longest ultra-endurance cycling race.
So could Albion’s ABR1 Bib Shorts be the perfect pair of bibs you’ve been looking for all along? Quite possibly — there’s certainly plenty to like about them. Personally, I’ve been through countless bib shorts from a variety of manufacturers, and these are the best cycling shorts I’ve ever come across.
Basically, this translates to: if you like to pack away the miles, then Albion has you covered.
Design and performance
The ABR1 Bib Shorts feature a premium Elastic Interface ultra pad. Albion has specifically chosen the Liège HP Men chamois from the Elastic Interface range, which is designed specifically for rides over seven hours long.
The pad measures 373 x 200mm and has a mixed density construction for extra support in the areas that need it most, as well as a central perineal channel, to take pressure off the urethra and improve blood flow.
While seven hours might be a bit of a push from the perspective of my backside, the pad definitely offers more comfort. It’s probably one of the best I’ve tried - I’ve managed three and four-hour rides without too much fuss. It’s not super dense either, like you might find with some pads, so even for shorter rides it just feels like a good pad that doesn’t get in the way when you want to put down the power.
The chamois pad aside, the remainder of the bib shorts is a bit of a mix — 80 per cent recycled nylon and 20 per cent polyester for the main, while the back panel (and presumably this incorporates the shoulder straps) is 73 per cent mesh and 27 per cent recycled elastane. The straps are wide and stretchy, giving you a firm hold on the shoulders without digging in, and the mesh helps to vent the sweat from your back.
The fit and level of comfort for the Albion ABR1 Bib Shorts are first-rate. They offer a close-fit, but not race-level close, and feel almost luxurious against the skin, with very few panels and flatlock seams to prevent chafing, and a four-way stretch allowing the material to move with your legs. The leg length is extraordinarily generous, which is good news if you have long legs like me, or you just seek a bit more coverage.
My only gripe about the fit is around the leg gripper. The silicone gripper is plenty wide and holds on to your skin without feeling uncomfortable. I found them just ever so slightly loose around the bottom of the quadriceps, meaning I had to jack them up just a centimetre to get a tighter fit. That could just be down to me needing to work those muscles a little harder, however.
I went for an XL — I’m normally a size large in Rapha bib shorts, for what it’s worth — though I may have been able to drop a size just to get a slightly tighter fit. That said, I wanted to avoid sacrificing leg length, and didn't want to make the shoulder straps tighter due to a shorter overall body length. The ABR1s are made in Italy, so as is usually par for the course, you should consider going up a size.
There are three colours available with the ABR1 Bib Shorts: Black, Navy, and Slate. As tested, the Navy version looks fantastic, though the Slate is definitely intriguing if you can pull it off. They also feature a small Albion logo on the left leg and a couple of small reflective strips on the rear legs; just enough to help you stand out against a darkened backdrop if you get caught riding late in the summer.
At £125.00 / $159.00 / €135.00 / AU$215.00, the Albion ABR1 bib shorts aren't cheap, but compared with other brands, I do think they offer pretty good value when you consider what you get for your money. You get a great pad that will keep your bottom happy for many miles, the fit is excellent, and they just look and feel superb. A brilliant investment, if you ask me.
Rapha’s Classic Bib Shorts (which incorporates some recycled materials, though not as much as Albion’s ABR1s) cost £45 more and feature a similar type of chamois, but not an Elastic Interface one.
What's more, Albion offers free shipping and free lifetime repairs, which is worth factoring into the price you pay — most brands don’t offer this level of aftercare.
Tech Specs: Albion ABR1 Bib Shorts
- Price: £125.00 / $159.00 / €135.00 / AU$215.00
- Materials: Main 80% recycled nylon, 20% polyester | Mesh 73% recycled nylon, 27% recycled elastane
- Colours: Black, Navy, Slate
- Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL
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